ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the December 5, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] bairnsidhe, [personal profile] librarygeek, and [personal profile] helgatwb. It also fills the "junk" square in my 12-3-17 card for [community profile] genprompt_bingo the fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the series An Army of One.

Warning: This poem deals with mobility impairment, PTSD, and other disability issues in space. If this is touchy territory for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.


"In the Orbit of Your Destiny"


Not everyone had come through
the war whole. Perhaps no one had,
really, but some even less than others.

Perhaps they should have expected it --
that bodies would break down -- that veterans
would find their way here the way driftwood
washed up on the shores of oceans --
but it still came as a surprise.

So there they were,
with half-a-dozen veterans
who could walk barely if at all,
the toddler Donly who arrived as
another refugee in his mother's arms
and could not actually toddle, and Vesper
whose decompression scars made it hard
to walk and breathe at the same time.

Operetta asked the Minotaur to find
somewhere safe to put people who
needed a zero gravity environment.

The Minotaur found a junked tanker,
five smaller cans clustered around
the big central one, its engines fried
but its crew quarters still intact.

The OCS-223, who had gotten
its own engines repaired, deigned
to tow the tanker into a stable location
more convenient to Sargasso Base.

Then it was just a matter of decorating
the place so it no longer looked like a tanker.
They'd gotten good at making things from junk.

Shuttlecock donated several bolts of fabric for
curtains and privacy panels. Weavercreep
turned rope and cargo netting into a web
of navigable strands for people to climb.

Other people brought things to add
to the network -- peapod loungers and
wraparound hammocks and heather blankets.

Novalie found a viewscreen and programmed
hours of slightly stylized artwork to create
a digital fireplace that didn't look like anything
was actually on fire to put in the main hall.

They named the place the Rondure,
and invited everyone to come in.

People gathered around the hearth,
clinging to the nets and each other.
It was nice to cuddle with friends, or
even strangers if your skin was hungry.

Vesper basked in the warm air
that flowed from the hearth grill.
Gimbal jaunted around the space,
old joints no longer limiting his motion.
Donly scrambled through the nets, as agile
as a monkey despite his crooked legs.

"It feels so good to be free again,"
Gimbal said as he twirled lazily in place.

Operetta smiled at him and replied,
"Once you are in the orbit of your destiny,
weightlessness is the only result."

* * *

Notes:

Donly -- a neuroambiguous toddler with crooked legs who arrived as another refugee in his mother's arms and cannot actually toddle. He moves to the Rondure for better mobility. Introduced in "In the Orbit of Your Destiny."

Vesper -- a neurovariant man whose decompression scars make it hard to walk and breathe at the same time. He moves to the Rondure because moving in zero gravity requires less effort, thus improving his mobility. Introduced in "In the Orbit of Your Destiny."

Operetta
-- a short, curvy, slightly plump woman skilled in designing hardware and working with technology on the Carinan side. She helps invent the velveteen gloves made from nanofiber that make it possible to transmit physical sensations long-distance. She is fairly young and neurovariant. Her passion is opera. She hates the nickname "Space Operetta" and indeed, hates space opera in general. She prefers to avoid conflict, and rarely makes eye contact. However, she is pretty good about expressing her emotions and desires, as long as she doesn't have to look anyone in the eye or stand in the spotlight. She is the girlfriend of Weavercreep. Later on, she develops some medical skills, because they have a serious shortage of that among the original secessionists -- just a few people like her who were on the lab side of things. Introduced in "The Velveteen Gloves," reappearing in "Language Bodies" and "Experts Talk Logistics."

The Minotaur -- a tall burly man who manages Sargasso Base, a graveyard of derelict starships in the Lacuna, formerly belonging to the Orion army. He is neurovariant. He has a coarse, inexpressive face and thick fingers. Sargasso Base is located at the Lagrange Point 5 of a rocky planet and its battered moon orbiting a white dwarf star. This is the one location known to everyone, and a source of valuable salvage material. He is a brilliant mathematician, capable of constructing and balancing intricate equations to keep the many ships and other pieces in a stable configuration. He also has an exquisitely delicate touch on the tractor and pressor beams. His passion is mythology, and he customarily expresses himself in those metaphors. His is adamant that his name is pronounced MINE-otaur not MIHN-otaur, and he often drops into obscure digressions when conversing with people. He views himself and the other neurovariants as mythical monsters, and neurotypical people as ordinary mortals. His use of "monster" is partially a reclaiming but also partially internalized discrimination; and that's true for much of the rest of his constructed worldview. He does not get along fluently with neurotypical people, and tends to hide from them. When the other secessionists ask him for help in providing salvage and a common meeting place, though, he agrees -- and he assures them that the military won't be a problem. He first appears in "Invisible Lines," reappearing in "Conscientious Objectors."

OCS-223 -- the AYES of a jumpship originally from the Orion-Cygnus army. (That army uses the initials OCS in serial numbers for Orion, Cygnus, Ship.) Abandoned at Sargasso Base as derelict, it plays dead until after the secession, when it starts an argument with the Minotaur and a formerly Carinan jumpship, the Cruiser Falconwing P42. The OCS-223 disapproves of the secession. Introduced in "Conscientious Objectors."

Shuttlecock -- a neurovariant woman who makes clothes at a shop called Threads. She lives at Sargasso Base. She is friends with Palmer. Introduced in "Umbilical Lines."

Weavercreep -- a man of average height, toward the thin side, skilled in writing and modifying computer programs for the Orion army. He is fairly young and neurovariant. He helps his girlfriend Operetta invent the velveteen gloves made from nanofiber that make it possible to transmit physical sensations long-distance. He does not have trouble making eye contact, but does have trouble verbalizing his emotions toward other people. So he often expresses himself in oblique terms. His handle likely derives from "weaver" as a reference to programming, and having been called a creep frequently by neurotypical people. As the Lacuna turns to recycling for survival, he discovers fibercrafts. Introduced in "The Velveteen Gloves," reappearing in "Experts Talk Logistics."

Novalie -- a neurovariant woman with anomic aphasia. She can speak, but she can't remember the right words, so she chooses not to speak most of the time. Her husband Taj respects that. Novalie is an artist. She moved to the Lacuna from Epizygis due to persecution. Introduced in "No Measure of Health."

Gimbal -- a neurovariant man, a veteran with stiff joints. He moves to the Rondure for better mobility. Introduced in "In the Orbit of Your Destiny."

* * *

"Once you are in the orbit of your destiny, weightlessness is the only result."
-- Baba Amte

Compare different models of disability. The medical model is useful for pursuing ways to fix physical problems. The social model is useful for enabling people to live more meaningful lives.

Space exposure is one type of decompression sickness or barotrauma. Lung injury is one common result, which sometimes results in permanent disability of varying degrees. Due to the prevalence of uncontrolled decompression in space combat, these are signature injuries of extraplanetary warfare.

You can design and make your own curtains. Thread them onto a frame to make privacy screens. Note that if you are hanging curtains or other screens in a gravity well, you only need to secure the top end. In zero-gravity, you must secure at least two ends in order for the fabric to stretch out. Many terrestrial patterns for privacy screens have single-channel curtains, rather than the double-channel kind you need in space.

Rope can be tied to make cargo nets or spiderwebs.

A peapod lounger works great in zero gravity because the puffy sides help hold the user in place. Similarly, a wraparound hammock can be closed over the user.

Often when you recycle fibers, you get heather, as in these blankets.

A digital fireplace can be as simple as a viewscreen with a good video of a fire, or as complex as a large freestanding hotbox that blows warm air through vents around a viewscreen.

ron•dure
RAREa circle or sphere; roundness
Origin of rondure
French rondeur from rond, round
-- Your Dictionary

(no subject)

Date: 2017-12-11 03:41 am (UTC)
wpadmirer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wpadmirer
I had never heard of serial poetry until this. Interesting idea, and I like the element of story to it.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2017-12-11 04:28 am (UTC)
technoshaman: (pele)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
She's got some LOOOOOOOONG strings, some of them themselves epics (3-400 lines or more)... we keep encouraging her, she keeps writing. She talks good story.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2017-12-11 04:54 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
You keep earning it! Unlike some people I won't mention. ;)

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2017-12-11 05:03 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
LOLOLOLOLOLOL! (I laugh so much because she's *not kidding*... If I had to start with Shiv *now*, I could easily blow a whole weekend binging out...)

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2017-12-11 05:15 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
When I started digging into Ysabet's stuff, I wound up several *months* behind on the other story sites I follow. and she's a danger to my keeping up with email groups as well. :-)

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2017-12-11 03:36 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Yeah; I fell behind on those two; it's probably going to take me weeks if not months to catch up.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2017-12-29 09:43 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Last years' work from Ysabet fills TWO of the largest comb binders they make (3.5"?); she's probably been MORE prolific this year... though this year it will sit on my hard drive and not my bookshelf. :)

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2017-12-30 04:37 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*grins* I might have contributed to a few of those problems... ;)

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2017-12-30 05:01 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*grins* check your DW balance lately? ;)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-12-11 04:30 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Once you are in the orbit of your destiny, weightlessness is the only result.
-- Baba Amte


Ooooh. Yes. I find my mundane job.... *work*. Doing the Work, however, is energizing.

And this Amte guy is *good*...

"I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see, I sought my god, but my god eluded me; And then I sought my sisters and my brothers, and in them I found all three."

BINGO.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-12-11 05:24 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
another hit!


• and could not actually toddler
→ toddle

• Sargasso Base, is located
→ Base is

• Lung injury ^one common result
^ is

• Many terrestrial patterns for privacy screens have single-channel curtains, rather than the double-channel kind you need in space.
> Channels: the tube(s) that the rods go through?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-12-11 02:04 pm (UTC)
acelightning: bookcase full of books (books)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
Some aspects of this remind me slightly of The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester - particularly the idea of the cluster of space wreckage becoming a home for strays.

Re: Well ...

Date: 2017-12-12 11:32 am (UTC)
acelightning: lighthouse powered by lightning striking it (lighthouse)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
As long as there are obsolete and/or damaged vehicles that haven't gotten recycled in the usual ways, there will be places where a bunch of them fetch up and stick together, to become useful again in novel ways :-)

Re: Well ...

Date: 2017-12-13 09:58 am (UTC)
acelightning: the famous photo of Earth seen from space (Earth)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
Which is exactly how some of the Sargassos on L-Earth came to exist. There's one relatively near to me on Staten Island - now I've got to figure out how to get there so I can see it :-)

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